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Color it Clean

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Color it Clean

Published 1966

Shows the detailed steps necessary to achieve a high standard of cleanliness in a public restroom and presents the opinions, attitudes and personal feelings of the men who do the job, giving voice in particular to a janitor in a university building. Director: James W. Hall. Janitor: Hance Nelson.

Run time 19:18
Producer University of Illinois, Motion Picture Service
Sponsor Building Operations, University of Illinois, Urbana Campus
Audio/Visual Sd, C


Shows the detailed steps necessary to achieve a high standard of cleanliness in a public restroom and presents the opinions, attitudes and personal feelings of the men who do the job.

Danger Lurks Safety


Reviewer: Mesila - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 16, 2016
Subject: One of the best Rifftrax shorts
Rifftrax - the internet-based project from the latter-day MST3K team - made a fantastically hilarious short lampooning this film. As someone who's bought every single short film Rifftrax has given their treatment to, as well as most of the full-length films from them as well, when I say 'Color It Clean' is easily one of my top 5 favorites, it really means something. The film is funny even without the jokes, but with them, I nearly had to go use a restroom myself since I was laughing so hard. "Each urinal is special and unique as a snowflake...I named these three Whitey, Cakey and Little Carl'. Go see it if you can - you won't be sorry!
Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 17, 2015
Subject: Color Me Entertained
After watching this I just cant for the life of me, imagine how these cable companies would ever expect people to pay for that junk they show on TV today. This movie is really different, mesmerizing, and it actually ...I don't know...takes ya somewhere. It also has intrigue; I was wondering what next he was gonna do with that soap dispener on which he seemed to spend an inordinately large amount of time.

The guy shown doing the cleaning in this film (Hance Nelson) was almost 50 when this film was made (he died in 2008 at age 90). He looks pretty darn young and fit for that age.
Reviewer: jefwv - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 30, 2012
Subject: great film
What a great film! Days gone by are those of which men took pride in their work. I have watched this film many times and still find it relaxing and comforting in knowing that workers at least at one time enjoyed their work and didn't complain too much. For those that had a good laugh at this film, I feel you are perhaps of the younger generation and maybe a little spoiled. For those of us that worked our way up in the world... you will find this very relaxing and entertaining.
Reviewer: Ryan Schweitzer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 19, 2009
Subject: Engaging film....
This film is one of my favorites here on this site, it's admirable what the janitors have to say about their occupation (as used in a voice-over fashion in this film). As others have metioned here, they have a work ethic that is nowadays lacking among today's folks. A quite refreshing and unique film.

A bit o' trivia--as for the strange music used as the theme for this film, that tune is none other than "Stratusphunk" from the legendary Gil Evans Orchestra....! It's on their 1960 album "Out Of The Cool", one of the best jazz albums recorded, IMO...
Reviewer: doowopbob - favoritefavorite - April 2, 2009
Subject: Keep 'Em Working....
Remember.Do Your Part To Keep 'Em Working...Don't Lift The Seat & Piss On The Floor!.Steal The Toilet Paper......It's Worthless Anyway....And Cram The Toilet With Paper Towels.& Flush........They Will Be So Happy They Have Work To Do!
Reviewer: Cicman69 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 17, 2007
Subject: I'm fascinasted
The other night I couldn't sleep so I logged on the computer, brought up prelinger, and for the heck of it, entered "toilet" as the search criteria. This film came up. So naturally I had to watch. I've never seen a more surrealistic yet engaging film. I'm a MST3K fan, but I couldn't find it wihtin myself to make fun of this. I was too busy admiring the work ethic of these janitors narrating.

We need more people in this world willing to do whatever job they happen to be doing to the best of their ability. This film reminded me of how far we've slipped.
Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavorite - July 19, 2006
Subject: "Color It Clean" drags
Interesting, but the film is too long. Much of the action and narration repeats.
Reviewer: adalbert_f - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2006
Subject: great surrealistic masterpiece
wow, what a grotesque masterpiece of weirdness and surrealism. toilets and toiletbrushs all the time, it remindes me at norman bates in "psycho", but it's also just a very aesthetic (colours!) piece of art. highly recommended for lovers of surreal films. just tune off the voices, they are quite disturbing, and combine the pictures with several kinds of music. just try out - you can make a horror film out of it or a comedy. for me, by the way, itôs a comedy - i had to laugh when i saw every minute. they're really showing everything, it's great - like never before or again in film history.
Reviewer: GE_Pretzel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 5, 2006
Subject: An uncharted area in the world of ephemeral film
Instead of examining the career satisfaction of individuals in a prestigious line of work such as law, science, or business, Color it Clean provides viewers with some revealing perspectives from janitors who enjoy their daily cleaning tasks and recognize the value of hygienic buildings. The testimonies of the janitors are interesting and surprisingly upbeat. Aside from the various scenes of the sedulous janitor maintaining the upkeep of the facilities, there's not much in the way of visuals; no campy special effects of animated characters to garner one's attention. Regardless, it is still a piece that fills a void.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 2, 2005
Subject: Where Sparkling Clean Restrooms Come From
This film, made by the University of Illinois at Urbana, is a tribute to the janitors who clean up the bathrooms every evening. The film shows one janitor carefully and meticulously cleaning every surface of the menÃÂÃÂs room heÃÂÃÂs assigned to, while several janitors speak on the soundtrack about the challenges of the job and how they try to do the best job they can. This is done so sincerely and realistically that only the most callous among us could find anything funny about it. Hey, itÃÂÃÂs not a job IÃÂÃÂd care to do, so my respect for janitors has gone up several notches, meaning this film is quite successful in its purpose. This is a quite unusual film that gives you a real sense of what a particular job in a particular place and time was like, giving it a great deal of historical value as well.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: DrKnapp - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 22, 2005
Subject: Pottyland!
This is the place you'll ever hear the word "JANITOR" used as a verb: "Not every man can JANITOR.".

Double your pleasure: Mute the sound and play Jerry Goldsmith's score from the movie "Coma" -- I did this once at a party; it turns a horrible film into the hysterical horror film, "Blood on the Tiles".
Reviewer: uniQ - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 6, 2004
Subject: The janitors who clean up after the ppl who wrote Mosaic
At the University of Illinois - Urbana, this film is about the janitors and ppl who clean up after hours.

A bit boring at times, but still - it's amazing to hear what the janitors have to say about their job.

Some of the props are a bit strange - the soap dispenser, the cart with that logo on it, and the CLOTH towels.

The chock under the door and dustpan scenes are the best, IMO.


PS. The music at the start is a bit strange...
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 3, 2003
Subject: A sense of pride about plunging.
This is another one of these movies that totally catch you off guard. A cinema verite movie about Washroom Janitors! The only narration in the movie is supplied by the janitors themselves, and it varies from how proud they are to be doing this to what it takes to be a janitor. During this, a fellow takes his own sweet time cleaning a college washroom. Just about the most peculiar movie you'll see on here, it comes highly reccomended.
Reviewer: MNErik - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 3, 2003
Subject: my thought exactly
Yes, its campy, and its extremely hard to believe they took this long to clean a bathroom (especaially when a college campus has tons of em) but just by watching this, you can see a mostly gone era in which no matter what your job/skill/trade was, you did it to the best of your ability, regardless of how glamorous it was.
Reviewer: rcfuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 18, 2003
Subject: Martha Stewart would be proud!
Cleaning toilets isn't rocket science but it's nice to see that the people in this film take their job very seriously and are proud of what they do. It always bugs me that people always trash public restrooms. Even at large corporations, filled with highly paid, white collar, upper middle-class workers, many people seem to treat the rest rooms like drunken frat boys. Call me crazy, but I appreciate a clean toilet and after watching this film I really appreciate the low paid men and women who clean up after the slobs of the world. This is well shot film with an interesting narration by the janitorial staff of the University of Illinois at Urbana. The serious tone of the film adds a little camp fun. Worth a watch. Don't forget to flush!
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